High Marks

Occasionally, great films can become so influential that they’re eventually cannibalized by other films. After imitators have turned innovation into cliché, the original work might seem like just another incarnation of the familiar. Vertigo enjoys a lasting legacy, however. For instance, a now-common perspec­tive-distorting special effect that was premiered in the movie bears its name. But whereas directors such as Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese have appropriated Alfred Hitchcock’s dolly-zoom technique, no one has successfully reproduced Vertigo‘s dizzying story. As a result, the film remains vital 50 years after its theatrical release. Jimmy Stewart plays a detective with acrophobia who becomes entangled with look-alike femmes fatales. (Local tie-in: One of these characters hails from Salina, Kansas.) Hitchcock uses mirrors and a spiral staircase to illustrate the plot’s densely coiled twists. Vertigo screens at dusk (around 8:40 p.m.) at Raytown’s C. Lee Kenagy Park (79th Street and Raytown Road).

Fri., July 18, 8:40 p.m., 2008